Information for Patients
What is hepatitis?
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. Inflammation is swelling that happens when tissues of the body are injured or infected. It can damage your liver. This swelling and damage can affect how well your liver functions.
What is hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a type of viral hepatitis. It can cause an acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) infection. People with an acute infection usually get better on their own without treatment. Some people with chronic hepatitis B will need treatment.
Thanks to a vaccine, hepatitis B is not very common in the United States. It is more common in certain parts of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia.
What causes hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus. The virus spreads through contact with blood, semen, or other body fluids from a person who has the virus.
Who is at risk for hepatitis B?
Anyone can get hepatitis B, but the risk is higher in:
- Infants born to mothers who have hepatitis B
- People who inject drugs or share needles, syringes, and other types of drug equipment
- Sex partners of people with hepatitis B, especially if they are not using latex or polyurethane condoms during sex
- Men who have sex with men
- People who live with someone who has hepatitis B, especially if they use the same razor, toothbrush, or nail clippers
- Health care and public-safety workers who are exposed to blood on the job
- Hemodialysis patients
- People who have lived in or traveled often to parts of the world where hepatitis B is common
- Have diabetes, hepatitis C, or HIV
What are the symptoms of hepatitis B?
Often, people with hepatitis B don't have symptoms. Adults and children over 5 are more likely to have symptoms than younger children.
Some people with acute hepatitis B have symptoms 2 to 5 months after infection. These symptoms can include:
- Dark yellow urine
- Gray- or clay-colored stools
- Joint pain
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Yellowish eyes and skin, called jaundice
If you have chronic hepatitis B, you may not have symptoms until complications develop. This could be decades after you were infected. For this reason, hepatitis B screening is important, even if you have no symptoms. Screening means that you are tested for a disease even though you don't have symptoms. If you are at high risk, your health care provider may suggest screening.
What other problems can hepatitis B cause?
In rare cases, acute hepatitis B can cause liver failure.
Chronic hepatitis B can develop into a serious disease that causes long-term health problems such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer, and liver failure.
If you have ever had hepatitis B, the virus may become active again, or reactivated, later in life. This could start to damage the liver and cause symptoms.
How is hepatitis B diagnosed?
To diagnose hepatitis B, your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:
- A medical history, which includes asking about your symptoms
- A physical exam
- Blood tests, including tests for viral hepatitis
What are the treatments for hepatitis B?
If you have acute hepatitis B, you probably don't need treatment. Some people with chronic hepatitis B don't need treatment. But if you have a chronic infection and blood tests show that hepatitis B could be damaging your liver, you may need to take antiviral medicines.
Can hepatitis B be prevented?
The best way to prevent hepatitis B is to get the hepatitis B vaccine.
You can also reduce your chance of hepatitis B infection by:
- Not sharing drug needles or other drug materials
- Wearing gloves if you have to touch another person's blood or open sores
- Making sure your tattoo artist or body piercer uses sterile tools
- Not sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes, razors, or nail clippers
- Using a latex condom during sex. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.
If you think you have been in contact with the hepatitis B virus, see your health care provider right away. Your provider may give you a dose of the hepatitis B vaccine to prevent infection. In some cases, your provider may also give you a medicine called hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG). You need to get the vaccine and the HBIG (if needed) as soon as possible after coming into contact with the virus. It is best if you can get them within 24 hours.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
General Equivalence Map Definitions
The ICD-9 and ICD-10 GEMs are used to facilitate linking between the diagnosis codes in ICD-9-CM and the new ICD-10-CM code set. The GEMs are the raw material from which providers, health information vendors and payers can derive specific applied mappings to meet their needs.
- Approximate Flag - The approximate flag is on, indicating that the relationship between the code in the source system and the code in the target system is an approximate equivalent.
- No Map Flag - The no map flag indicates that a code in the source system is not linked to any code in the target system.
- Combination Flag - The combination flag indicates that more than one code in the target system is required to satisfy the full equivalent meaning of a code in the source system.
Index of Diseases and Injuries Definitions
- And - The word "and" should be interpreted to mean either "and" or "or" when it appears in a title.
- Code also note - A "code also" note instructs that two codes may be required to fully describe a condition, but this note does not provide sequencing direction.
- Code first - Certain conditions have both an underlying etiology and multiple body system manifestations due to the underlying etiology. For such conditions, the ICD-10-CM has a coding convention that requires the underlying condition be sequenced first followed by the manifestation. Wherever such a combination exists, there is a "use additional code" note at the etiology code, and a "code first" note at the manifestation code. These instructional notes indicate the proper sequencing order of the codes, etiology followed by manifestation.
- Type 1 Excludes Notes - A type 1 Excludes note is a pure excludes note. It means "NOT CODED HERE!" An Excludes1 note indicates that the code excluded should never be used at the same time as the code above the Excludes1 note. An Excludes1 is used when two conditions cannot occur together, such as a congenital form versus an acquired form of the same condition.
- Type 2 Excludes Notes - A type 2 Excludes note represents "Not included here". An excludes2 note indicates that the condition excluded is not part of the condition represented by the code, but a patient may have both conditions at the same time. When an Excludes2 note appears under a code, it is acceptable to use both the code and the excluded code together, when appropriate.
- Includes Notes - This note appears immediately under a three character code title to further define, or give examples of, the content of the category.
- Inclusion terms - List of terms is included under some codes. These terms are the conditions for which that code is to be used. The terms may be synonyms of the code title, or, in the case of "other specified" codes, the terms are a list of the various conditions assigned to that code. The inclusion terms are not necessarily exhaustive. Additional terms found only in the Alphabetic Index may also be assigned to a code.
- NEC "Not elsewhere classifiable" - This abbreviation in the Alphabetic Index represents "other specified". When a specific code is not available for a condition, the Alphabetic Index directs the coder to the "other specified” code in the Tabular List.
- NOS "Not otherwise specified" - This abbreviation is the equivalent of unspecified.
- See - The "see" instruction following a main term in the Alphabetic Index indicates that another term should be referenced. It is necessary to go to the main term referenced with the "see" note to locate the correct code.
- See Also - A "see also" instruction following a main term in the Alphabetic Index instructs that there is another main term that may also be referenced that may provide additional Alphabetic Index entries that may be useful. It is not necessary to follow the "see also" note when the original main term provides the necessary code.
- 7th Characters - Certain ICD-10-CM categories have applicable 7th characters. The applicable 7th character is required for all codes within the category, or as the notes in the Tabular List instruct. The 7th character must always be the 7th character in the data field. If a code that requires a 7th character is not 6 characters, a placeholder X must be used to fill in the empty characters.
- With - The word "with" should be interpreted to mean "associated with" or "due to" when it appears in a code title, the Alphabetic Index, or an instructional note in the Tabular List. The word "with" in the Alphabetic Index is sequenced immediately following the main term, not in alphabetical order.